Wednesday, July 25, 2007

International Baccalaureate: 2 years later

A topic that was all the buzz at this time two years ago was the Minnetonka School District International Baccalaureate (IB) program. As I recall, it was quite a controversy within the School Board elections of 2005, when the program was in its first year and there were calls to abandon the effort.

In a nutshell, the supporters of IB were saying that it would broaden horizons for students beyond the traditional high school coursework, help them prepare for increasing globalization, and boost incoming open enrollment numbers. The opposition claimed that it was the wrong thing to do at a time when money should be spent on more basic things (I should mention that IB is not cheap) and that many of the concepts teached would be anti-American or anti-Christian.

It was hard for me to buy the Anti-Christian or American argument. Isn't school supposed to be a place where students are taught to think? Sure, you need to do it at an age where a teen has the maturity to separate a concept from a fact. But if the student has mastered basic history and literature, what is wrong with introducing concepts that will require more reason?

The cost point, on the other hand, seemed more compelling. If we truly are cutting back on some of the more basic services provided, did it truly make sense to begin spending money on what many perceive to be a "bonus" of education, and not part of the core?

The reason I post this topic is that I really haven't heard much about IB in the past year. I'm very interested in hearing from readers who still have strong feelings, and would be especially interested in hear from parents or students who have first hand knowledge of the IB program. Did it broaden your education? Did it give you a leg up in college?

Big school board election this fall (4 seats turnover). Will it be a big issue again?

1 comment:

  1. Love this site! The IB program is an incredible addition. The number of students who have entered into the program and are taking classes has expanded three-fold since introduced at the high school (our student is one of them). I believe the money spent is nominal and goes towards preparing teachers who wish to teach IB. I might add that this is an optional program for students – it would be very interesting to hear from IB students! As far as the fall election: I am interested in candidates who will come to the table without an agenda - the board members are to serve the schools and students, not themselves. There is one candidate I definitely CANNOT support - Bill Wenmark.